A circuit board with the word 5G on it.
Image: Sikov/Adobe Stock

Cisco and NTT announced on Friday a collaboration to promote, innovate and bring to market private 5G technology for the automotive, logistics, healthcare, retail and public sectors.

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What is private 5G?

For organizations, private 5G can allow access to licensed, unlicensed or shared spectrum, which could open up use cases that existing public mobile networks would be hard-pressed to support. It’s one of many solutions in play for the problem of mass amounts of data from edge solutions requiring correspondingly powerful and continuous processing.

According to a 2022 IDC report, the global private 5G market is predicted to grow beyond $8 billion by 2026, an estimated annual growth rate of 35%.

The 2022 Global Network Report from NTT found that 70% of C-level executives said their current network performance negatively affected business delivery and growth. Another 86% expected private 5G to drive network modernization.

Cisco’s private 5G rollout

One current customer, a university, uses the joint private 5G solution to enable connectivity. The new solution enables the university to maintain complete visibility and control of key network functions, including the speed at which data travels on campus, NTT said.

In a press release, NTT and Cisco listed other potential use cases such as push-to-talk “walkie-talkie” communications, automated guided vehicles, always-connected PCs and machine vision.

Other planned applications include powering computer vision for product quality analysis, predictive analytics for manufacturing equipment functionality and maintenance, and autonomous vehicles for moving products on a factory floor. The latter will also take advantage of NTT’s Internet of Things connected solutions. Specifically, for all of the planned applications Cisco will work on the network infrastructure design, deployment, run operations, use case development, device sourcing, compatibility and end-to-end testing.

“Our cloud-managed private 5G offers customers seamless integration with [NTT’s] Enterprise network fabric along with common policy and zero-trust security architecture, helping to reduce technical, financial and operational risks associated with managing 5G networks so they can focus on driving business agility and efficiency,” said Masum Mir, senior vice president and general manager of provider mobility at Cisco Networking.

NTT has partnered with Cisco because the companies share the same 5G goal.

“This is a natural expansion of the cutting-edge capabilities and services NTT brings to market to help our global clients modernize their businesses,” said Shahid Ahmed, executive vice president of new ventures and innovation at NTT. “NTT and Cisco are building on our mutual commitment to build a simple to manage pure private network solution.”

NTT’s ultra-broadband signal amplifier

NTT also recently announced an “ultra-compact” baseband amplifier IC module that can deliver 100 GHz. Ultra-broadband signal amplification can be used for next-generation all-photonics networks including NTT’s core optical network IOWN and 6G.

It builds on NTT’s existing InP-based heterojunction bipolar transistor technology. NTT says this improves the performance of amplifier ICs and package mounting technology and enables it to incorporate a DC block function2 with 100 GHz bandwidth performance.

SEE: 5G vs 6G: What’s the difference? (TechRepublic)

On the hardware side, changes in the coaxial connector and DC block function made a big difference. NTT used a push-on type coaxial connector instead of a thread-on type coaxial connector for the interface. The company redesigned the joint between the coaxial and the internal high-frequency board. In addition, NTT mounted a small thin-layer capacity on the internal high-frequency substrate; this helped achieve DC block function integration with the ultra-broadband characteristics.

The increased speed of digital transformation during the COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the need for this type of performance, NTT said. In addition, NTT claims it has applications for experimentation and measurement in advanced scientific research.

Elsewhere in private 5G, Hewlett Packard is integrating 5G into its as-a-service application. IBM and some of its partners are getting in on private 5G. Cisco started offering a private 5G solution for government customers last spring.

Read next: Samsung locks in standardization for 5G satellite network modems (TechRepublic)

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